European Drag Racing season-opener roars into action at Santa Pod

European Drag Racing season-opener roars into action at Santa Pod

After a lengthy winter break, drag racing engines are ready to roar again, with thousands of horsepower set to be unleashed at this weekend’s FIA European Drag Racing Championship season-opener held at Santa Pod Raceway

With reigning champion Ida Zetterström moving across to the US-based NHRA Drag Racing Series, last year’s runner-up Susanne Callin is the main contender for the title in the fastest and most powerful of classes.


2017 Top Fuel title winner Duncan Micallef is back for a full season this year, while the extremely quick Swiss racer Jndia Erbacher should also be a force to be reckoned with, however only planning a partial campaign this year.


Will a funny car come out on top once again or will the dragsters prevail? That will once again be the question in the class where funny cars and dragsters compete against each other. Sandro Bellio, the 2019 and 2022 champion, is ready to bounce back following a troublesome campaign last year.


At Santa Pod, the Belgian’s Chevrolet Monte Carlo funny car will meet strong competition from three dragsters. A-Fuel Team Sweden entered the series with two cars for Jonny Lagg and Tony Bryntesson, while Silvio Strauch will go for his second full season in the championship.

David Vegter, who finished the 2023 season on a high with his first win at the European Finals and a runner-up position in the championship, will be one of the main favorites to the title. The Dutchman has been consistently quick for several years now and came close to the European ET record last season.


Another man to watch should be Andres Arnover. The Estonian and his turbo-powered ’67 Ford Mustang GT500 finished in third position last season, while Bruno Bader came fourth. The Swiss Pro Mod veteran aboard his Gotham City Corvette is a proven top-three finisher and should also be in the mix for the top spots.

The Pro Stockers skipped the season-opening round last year, but now the factory-based hot rods are back with an eight-car field. The top six of last year’s championship standings will take on the title fight this weekend.


Reigning champion Michael Malmgren will meet hard competition from the two Dodge drivers, 2023 runner-up Stefan Ernryd and third-best driver of 2023, Simon Ekengren. Robin Norén, last year fourth in the standings, had a busy winter as the team had to repair the Pontiac GXP after the crash at the Hockenheimring.


A major threat will surely come from Jimmy Ålund. The 12-time class champion only took part in the two Tierp races last year and finished the championship in fifth position. This season Ålund is back for a full campaign with only one goal – to retake that number one spot.


Qualifying for the FIA classes will kick off on Saturday and will continue on Sunday, while eliminations will follow on Monday.

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